William Holton

“My painting practice begins with intentionality – establishing a system that gradually moves beyond conscious control to become a self-regulating system. Setting a few simple rules, then, using compressed air to create and move small currents of paint, I yield control to the materials and the complex patterns that emerge from their interaction. This process occurs over many layers, resulting in overlaid patterns, which interconnect and play off one another so that new patterns emerge. The colors, too, take on a life of their own, as a painting progresses. Although I commit to specific colors at the outset, once introduced into a field of layers, optical mixing occurs, creating new colors over which one no longer has control. Thus color creates color, shape creates shape, in a self-regulating system of exponentially growing complexity.

I developed this approach out of my fascination with complex systems in nature, and the dynamic interplay of structure and contingency that makes up the universe. I am interested in how systems, on every scale of magnitude, accommodate exponential growth, how chance and uncertainty produce richly configured, ever-changing structures which are again, subject to chance and uncertainly.

As in nature, my own process has been in a continual state of evolution over the past years, as it accommodates moments of disorder that result from new discoveries. I am in awe of how this process operates in nature at every level of magnitude. And I experience it in microcosm in my work – within the most minute motions of paint, and in the large patterns that form from their cumulative effect. My hope is to express how even the smallest image implies infinity, presenting a fragile stasis within an inevitable movement toward disorder. And how so-called “positive” and “negative” space, created by the proliferation of interconnected patterns, are in fact singular “entities,” each composed of space and matter. As fundamental elements of my paintings, these two shift in relation to one another as light conditions shift: sometimes “positive” elements come to the forward, sometimes the “negative”, but the two are always interdependent. Through the interplay of myriad patterns, and in the changing light of day, my work seeks to reflect something of our infinitely rich, endlessly dynamic, universe of space and time.”